Troubleshoot Bad Boss Behavior

BNET asked five seasoned executives how they’ve tamed bosses with behavior problems. Here’s what they had to say.

  • Chronic Micromanagement
    Your Solution: Build a detailed plan for your projects, with regular milestones where you will report back for feedback. Invite your boss to review the plan and adjust it as necessary.
  • Vague Priorities
    Your Solution: Based on your best understanding, write an email that repeats what the boss said, followed by your specific interpretation of what you think she actually wants done.
  • Explosive Temper
    Your Solution: Stay calm and try to figure out what the boss is really saying. If possible, delay responding in detail until he’s in a better mood.
  • Absurd Expectations
    Your Solution: Ask the boss to help you set priorities or find ways to help you work more efficiently.
  • Belittles You in Public
    Your Solution: Ask for a private meeting. Indicate that you value the boss’s feedback but public criticism makes it difficult for you to focus on improving your performance.
  • Avoids Difficult Decisions
    Your Solution: Proceed under the assumption that your boss intends to make what you see as the best possible decision. Then send a polite email stating what you plan to do unless you hear otherwise.
  • Demands Unreasonably Long Hours
    Your Solution: Weigh the benefits–and seriously consider finding a new job if there aren’t any.
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